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Greek Sculpture in the History of Visual Arts Essay

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“Greek Funerary Busts” by Sturgeon

The funerary bust is a type of Greek sculpture that holds a special place in the history of visual arts of the Hellenic world (Sturgeon 231). It is a half-statue truncated at the shoulders or waist that was customarily placed on a tomb. The majority of monuments were female and could be roughly divided into five groups: realistic half statues, aniconic busts, veiled busts, terracotta busts, and masks (Sturgeon 234). Some of them were made of stone and were used to mark graves.

Others were made of terracotta and produced in fulfillment of a vow. They were believed to be connected to the practice of ritual worship of underworld deities. Even though the tradition of producing life-sized statues of the deceased was spread over a vast geographic area of the region, the practice of making a representation of only half of the human figure was extremely unusual for the Greek world. Therefore, it never proliferated beyond its periphery.

“The Beazley Archive: Inside and Out” by Smith

John Davidson Beazley was born in the family of an interior designer in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1885 (Smith 22). It is believed that he taught the future scholar many aspects of artistic craftsmanship. Beazley received his education at Oxford where he studied Latin and Greek among other disciplines. His linguistic talents gave rise to a passion for poetry and acting. However, it was Greek art that became the center of man’s research and determined his devotion to archaeology.

Beazley had a great scholarly interest in collecting antique items, especially Greek pottery. Some modern scholars attribute to him the authorship of the technique for tracing original authors of vase paintings known as the “Beazley Method” while others argue that it was the adaptation of the “Morellian Method” (Smith 23). The photographs, hand drawings, notes and letters gathered during his life became a part of a large collection that later was called the Beazley Archive.

“Sir John Beazley” by Robertson

John Davidson Beazley is famous for conceiving and designing a new branch in the art-historical study. He proposed most of the groundwork for the cataloging Greek pottery from the sixth and fifth centuries, particularly “Athenian red-figure and white ground vases” (Robertson 541). It was during his period as an undergraduate at Oxford when he came to love and appreciate Greek art and classical literature. Beazley is considered the originator of the method for studying paintings on vases that allows making a distinction between works of famous artists from those of artisans. The list of his publications, notes, and private letters that was published in 1951 serves as an indicator of his artistic nature and valuable addition to the black-figure and red-figure catalogs (Robertson 542).

“The Well-Ordered Corpse: An Investigation into the Motives Behind Greek Funerary Legislation” by Garland

The funeral legislation of ancient Greece is the major source of information on the cultural manifestations of the Hellenic world burial ceremonies. Greek laws put several restrictions on the commemoration of the deceased addressing both secular and religious concerns such as curtailing the spread of sectarian groups and infectious diseases. The funeral processions were well-attended events that often served as a platform for showcasing socioeconomic status and prestige.

The set of Solonian legislation restricted the participation of women in the process of “laying out of the body” to only those who had the closest kinship ties with a deceased (Garland 3). Moreover, the elder members of every community were granted a right of returning to their homes immediately after a procession. Catana’s laws promoted the commemoration of the dead with enormous stress on the public display of mourning and grief as a mark of respect (Garland 8).

Works Cited

Garland, Robert. “The Well-Ordered Corpse: An Investigation into the Motives Behind Greek Funerary Legislation.” Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 36.1 (1989): 1-15. Print.

Robertson, Martin. “Sir John Beazley.” The Burlington Magazine 112. 809 (1970): 541-542. Print.

Smith, Tyler Jo. “The Beazley Archive: Inside and Out.” Art Documentation: Journal of the Art Libraries Society of North America 24.1 (2005): 22-25. Print.

Sturgeon, Mary. “Greek Funerary Busts.” Archeology 28. 4 (1975): 230-238. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2021, April 8). Greek Sculpture in the History of Visual Arts. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/greek-sculpture-in-the-history-of-visual-arts/

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"Greek Sculpture in the History of Visual Arts." IvyPanda, 8 Apr. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/greek-sculpture-in-the-history-of-visual-arts/.

1. IvyPanda. "Greek Sculpture in the History of Visual Arts." April 8, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/greek-sculpture-in-the-history-of-visual-arts/.


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IvyPanda. "Greek Sculpture in the History of Visual Arts." April 8, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/greek-sculpture-in-the-history-of-visual-arts/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Greek Sculpture in the History of Visual Arts." April 8, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/greek-sculpture-in-the-history-of-visual-arts/.

References

IvyPanda. (2021) 'Greek Sculpture in the History of Visual Arts'. 8 April.

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